Karim Benzema's majestic hat-trick - his second in as many Champions League games - gave Real Madrid a memorable 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the first leg of their quarter-final.
Benzema’s sheer expertise was thrillingly decisive. He gave Madrid the lead in the 21st minute with a brilliantly imaginative header from 15 yards after playing a one-two-three with Vinicius Jr.
Three minutes later Benzema scored another majestic header, steering Luka Modric’s teasing cross back across Edouard Mendy with just enough curl to take it into the corner.
Kai Havertz brought Chelsea back into the tie with a brave header of his own, ignoring Dani Carvajal’s flying boot to power Reece James’s cross through Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea had renewed hope at half-time, but it was shattered in the first minute of the second half when a loose pass from Edouard Mendy allowed Benzema to roll the ball into the empty net.
The substitute Romelu Lukaku missed a terrific chance to make it 3-2 and Hakim Ziyech shot just over in injury-time.
It means that Chelsea will go to Madrid needing to win by two goals just to take the tie to extra-time.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid team new
Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Azpilicueta; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic.
Real Madrid (4-3-3)
Courtois; Carvajal, Eder Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
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